Let’s Talk About Music

Thanks to My English Cup of Tea for inspiring this. Before I started writing full time, I was a registered music therapist, working for fifteen years in nursing homes and other facilities that served senior citizens.

I understood and still appreciate the power of music to heal. Even today, music relaxes me when I need to unwind and motivates me when I need to get up and do something.

When I ran across Kathrins’ musical tag, I decided to give it a try. Here are my answers to the questions provided on the site.

 

What sort of music do you like to listen to?

 

I enjoy classical, jazz, and some standards from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. I also like a little contemporary music once in a while.

 

Do you play an instrument? What is your favorite instrument?

 

I play piano and guitar. Although I no longer work as a music therapist, I still visit nursing homes and other facilities from time to time and play my guitar and sing for the residents. I like the guitar’s portability, but I can do more with the piano.

 

What is your favorite quote about music?

 

I’m not sure where this came from, but I remember it being the theme of a concert I attended years ago featuring a college choir along with a children’s group sponsored by the YMCA. “Music is the doctor.”

 

Who is your favorite singer/musician?

 

My favorite singer is Linda Ronstadt. I read her autobiography a couple of years ago. She had an interesting life. “Heart Is Like a Wheel” is still one of my favorites. I don’t think it was as popular as her other work, but it echoes my sentiment after my husband passed.

 

Who is your favorite songwriter/composer?

 

I don’t have any favorites here. From Beethoven to Joni Mitchell, I don’t think any one is better than another.

 

Who is one musician or composer you secretly like but won’t admit?

 

I don’t have any, and that’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

 

If you had to get stuck on a desert island with only three works of music, what would they be?

 

I would choose songs representing different turning points in my life. Simon and Garfunkel’s “El Condor Pasa” was on one of my first eight-tracks when I was a kid. It was the first song I sang for a talent show, accompanying myself on the piano.

Barbara Streisand’s “Songbird” was one I listened to frequently during my music therapy internship in Fargo, North Dakota. At the time, my supervisor didn’t think I would be successful as a music therapist. The song echoed my sentiment.

I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You” from The Mask of Zorro was a song my late husband and I enjoyed listening to together while snuggling. Even today, I’m amazed that a man wanted to spend his lifetime loving me. You can read more about this in My Ideal Partner.

 

What kind of music do you dislike?

 

I hate heavy metal. It grates on my nerves. I also don’t like modern atonal classical music. It sounds more like noise, but then again, one person’s noise is another’s music.

 

Now it’s your turn. If you have a blog, you can answer the above questions there and link to your post here. Otherwise, you can share your answers in the comments field. Either way, I look forward to hearing from you and wish you many more happy hours of music listening.

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

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Saturday Song: Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel

When I was eight years old, I got an eight-track player for Christmas, along with a few tapes of course. One of these was Simon and Garfunkel’s album Bridge Over Troubled Water which contains such memorable songs as “El Condor Pasa,” “The Boxer,” and “Sicilia.” Here’s the title track from that album. Have a great day.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Eight-Track Memories

Thanks to author Bruce Atchison for inspiring this post. When I was eight years old, Dad gave me an eight-track player for Christmas. Because of my limited vision, I was delighted at how easy it was to use, just slid the tape into the slot and pushed it in and the music started playing, no messing with records and needles. The tapes didn’t need to be turned over, and as long as I left one in the machine, the music kept playing until I got tired of hearing the same songs and wanted something different.

Once I became familiar with an album, I usually listened to it from beginning to end. After the last song played, I pulled the tape out of the player before it started at the beginning. I was intrigued by the fact that although the machine was called an eight-track player, the tapes only had four tracks, each track containing several songs. There was no way to navigate between songs, but I could push a button to move from one track to the next. If I had a favorite song on a particular album, I often navigated to the track that contained the song and waited for it to come around.

One of my first eight-track albums was Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water. One of my favorite songs on this album was “El Condor Pasa.” When I was twelve, I discovered that I could sing my favorite songs and accompany myself on the piano. I sang “El Condor Pasa” in this fashion at a talent contest. I didn’t win, but the experience launched my junior high and high school singing career.

A couple of years later, my younger brother Andy took an interest in playing the drums so needless to say, we formed our own band. At first, Andy didn’t have a drum set so he used an old paint can and a chip of wood for a drumstick. Because Mother wouldn’t let him bring the paint can into the house, we pretended the front porch was a stage. Andy found another wood chip for me to use as a microphone, and I stood on our imaginary stage, holding that chip to my lips, and singing. My only accompaniment was Andy banging away on that old paint can. It was crude but exhilarating. Years later, I wrote a poem about this experience, and you can click below to hear me read it.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/when%20star.mp3.mp3

The eight-track machine wasn’t the only way I listened to music. After we moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, and my father took over the family’s coin-operated machine business, we had a jukebox in our home. Again, because of my visual impairment, I was delighted not to have to mess with a record needle. I just pushed a couple of buttons. The desired disc was deposited onto the turntable, and the needle positioned itself. Because the print in the display window was too small for me to read, I memorized the button combinations that would play my favorite songs. Andy and I spent many happy hours with our friends around that jukebox.

I never pursued my dream of being a singer, but I continued singing and playing the piano through high school and college. When I decided to go into music therapy, I learned to play the guitar. For fifteen years, I worked in nursing homes and other senior facilities, and part of my job was singing and accompanying myself on the guitar or piano. My music was a comfort to many people during that time.

When I got married and started writing full time, my husband Bill, who fell in love with my voice, asked me to play and sing for him from time to time. After he became paralyzed as a result of two strokes, my music was a comfort to him as well. When he died, I sang “Stormy Weather” at his graveside, accompanying myself on the guitar.

Now that Bill, my eight-track player, and the jukebox are gone, I listen to music on compact discs and cassettes. I don’t care for a lot of today’s popular music but enjoy listening to my favorite songs that were popular when I was growing up. My taste has expanded to include classical music and jazz.

Most of my singing is done with a women’s group called Just Harmony. We perform at conventions, parties, and other venues. Some of our music is accompanied on a keyboard by our director. Other songs are sung a capello. Every once in a while, though, as you’ll hear if you click below, I’ll sit down at the piano and play and sing one of my favorite songs.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/bridge%20over%20troubled%20water.mp3.mp3

How did you listen to music when you were growing up? Was there a song that highlighted a pivotal moment in your life?

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver